Briefly noted

March 9, 2010

The (Anglican) Church of England’s main legislative body said February 10 in London that it recognizes and affirms the desire of the breakaway Anglican Church of North America to remain in the Anglican fold. But the General Synod simultaneously said that it was not ready yet to be in full communion with the conservative group. American Anglican Council President David Ander son, a former Episcopal priest, told Episcopal News Service he was pleased with the outcome, despite the lack of full acceptance. A representative of the Episcopal Church’s presiding bishop, Katharine Jefferts Schori, said that the U.S. church does not interfere in the decision-making of other Anglican provinces but that Episcopal leaders continue to object to the fact that some foreign provinces have “actively interfered in the affairs of the Episcopal Church.”

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches, Olav Fykse Tveit, has written to the finance ministers of the Group of Seven leading industrialized nations to thank them for pledging to write off Haiti’s outstanding debts to G7 countries. At the same time, Tveit, a Norwegian Lutheran, warned that the approval by the International Monetary Fund of more loans to Haiti after its earthquake in January would cause extra problems for the stricken country. “The decision of the IMF approving more loans to Haiti after the earthquake will only add to Haiti’s burden, nearly doubling the country’s debt to that institution, as there is no clear willingness or definitive moves yet to cancel the country’s current debt,” Tveit wrote.

The top executive of the National Council of Churches is challenging investment giant Goldman Sachs to use half of its $20 billion bonus pool to help rebuild Haiti after its devastating earthquake. Haiti’s entire gross domestic product (the basic measure of a country’s overall economic output) is $8.5 billion, which is less than half of Goldman Sachs’s bonus pool. The government’s bailout in 2009 left Wall Street’s biggest name with a much-discussed amount of money. Last September, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein said, “Compensation continues to generate controversy and anger. In many respects, much of it is understandable and appropriate.” In light of the dire need in Haiti, Michael Kinnamon, the NCC general secretary, and George Hunsinger, professor of systematic theology at Princeton Theological Seminary, urged Goldman Sachs to donate half of its bonuses to Haitian relief.